Riding Glacier NP’s Going-to-the-Sun Road Before Cars Are Allowed In

With the news that crews have begun plowing the biggest, deepest, snow drifts—some stacked as high as 80 feet—on Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road, we thought back to this trip report about riding bikes along the road, after the plows have cleared it, but before cars have been allowed access. Quiet, exquisitely beautiful, pure magic. Also, a butt-kicking climb. As the author of this piece explains, however, it’s very much worth it. – Ed. 
We’re straddling our bikes in a canyon of snow. Some of us are on mountain bikes, some on road bikes, with a menagerie of steeds covering every type in between. I’m on my ten-year-old hardtail with rim brakes, high on endorphins from the relentless climb and blissfully oblivious to the fact that the impending descent would be the demise of that particular back rim.
Every spring, an underground movement of cyclists journeys to the sublimely beautiful Going to the Sun Road in Glacier, Montana’s northern-most park. They ride the tails of plows run by an elite force of Glacier National Park employees tasked with clearing snow from the steep, narrow ribbon of pavement that, after deep winters like the one Montana just saw, can rise 80 feet above the asphalt.
We shout a hundred variations of “It’s so beautiful!” through our burning lungs as the Big Bend rounds out to reveal Heaven’s Peak.
Once it’s clear to Logan Pass in early June (at the most optimistic), Going to the Sun opens to the millions of cars that traverse its length over the Continental Divide. Motorists squeeze past each other in an unending line on what can only loosely be called a two-lane road; barely wide enough for two sports cars, let alone motorhomes and F-350s, it’s sub-optimal for biking unless there’s a de
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